NASA weather satellite set to launch from Vandenberg SFB on November 1 | Vandenberg

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NASA and NOAA aim November 1 for the launch of a weather satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA are partners in the development, launch, testing and operation of all satellites in the JPSS program, or Joint Polar Satellite System.

The JPSS-2 satellite will join a constellation of satellites that orbit from the North Pole to the South Pole, circling the Earth 14 times a day and providing a comprehensive view of the entire globe twice a day, NASA officials say.

The satellite will be named NOAA-21 after it reaches orbit – similar to NOAA-20 which was previously known as JPSS-1 and is currently in orbit with sister NOAA/NASA satellite Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.

According to officials, each satellite is responsible for carrying at least four advanced instruments to measure weather and climate conditions on Earth. Satellites feed forecasting models that provide insight into weather events such as precipitation, snow, hurricanes, and environmental hazards such as wildfires and volcanic activity.

The data captured is essential for long-term forecasts and helps scientists forecast and prepare people for extreme weather events and climate change, officials said.

In addition to weather conditions, JPSS satellites also monitor the Earth’s oceans, measuring sea surface temperature and tracking sea ice and harmful algal blooms. The program also provides important climate data on ozone and atmospheric temperature.

The launch from Space Launch Complex-3 with JPSS-2 will be a secondary payload – the low Earth orbit flight test of an inflatable decelerator. The program is a partnership between NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and ULA.

According to officials, the test flight will demonstrate inflatable heat shield technology that uses aerodynamic drag to slow spacecraft in the most mass-efficient way.

In the long term, this technology could enable a variety of missions proposed by NASA to destinations such as Mars, Venus and Titan, as well as the return of heavier payloads from low Earth orbit.

NASA’s Kennedy Launch Services Program manages the launch, while NOAA funds and manages the program, operations, and data products.


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Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.

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